A Doylestown, PA man who was texting on his cellphone when he caused a high-speed car crash that severely injured several people was sentenced on Monday, July 16, 2012, in Bucks County Court to 9 to 23 months in the county prison.
William Vancamp, 26, must complete 50 hours of community service.  County Judge Wallace Bateman ruled Vancamp must spend that time speaking to young drivers about the dangers of texting while driving.
The crash happened on Route 263 on the Buckingham/Warwick border on November 12, 2012.  Vancamp was traveling southbound when he failed to notice that traffic had stopped ahead of him.  He looked up just before impact and pulled his car to the left.
Vancamp was traveling 40 mph at the time of the crash.  The speed limit on that part of Route 263 is 55 mph.  The weather that day was clear and dry.
When initially questioned by police, Vancamp denied using his cellphone before the crash.  A forensic investigation later showed he was engaged in three separate text conversations while driving, and that 38 text messages were sent or received by his phone in the hour leading up to the crash.
Vancamp pleaded guilty to aggravated assault by vehicle and several traffic violations.  While it is illegal to text while driving in Pennsylvania, that law did not go into effect until March, so he was not charged with that offense.
Some people have questioned whether a complete ban on texting while driving will actually lead to more crashes because drivers will conceal their cell phones, making it more dangerous to read and type messages.  However, research has shown that texting while driving is unsafe regardless of where the phone is positioned.  Compared with other sources of driver distractions, texting is in its own universe of risk.
The evidence is clear and overwhelming.  We must stop texting while driving now.
Tyler Tomlinson is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Yardley, PA office, specializing in Accident & Personal Injury Law. For more information, please contact Mr. Tomlinson.